Civic Engagement


Growing up in cities throughout his life, Zach has developed a strong interest in local economic development that leaves no one behind. As a student at George Washington University in Washington, DC, he has noticed the stark contrast of wealth and opportunity in different neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Recognizing the immense capacity of GWU to invest in and support economic empowerment in low-income areas in the District, Zach is using his Blueprint to lead the GW Roosevelt Institute’s efforts to improve the school’s economic impact. The campaign, part of the national campus network’s Rethinking Communities initiative, sees the university as an anchor institution with strong roots and resources to rebuild marginalized neighborhoods in the city. Zach is working with students to research specific variables that measure GWU’s social influence through its procurement, investment, hiring decisions, and small business incubation. After developing a rating system that determines the extent of GWU’s community development, the campaign will focus on advocating for university endowment investment in local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that support homeowners, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations in low-income neighborhoods in the city. Zach hopes this effort will inspire other students to pressure their universities to make greater and better social impact in their surrounding communities.